If you’ve ever wondered why succulents have become so popular in recent years, just take another look at their intriguing, architectural shapes. You’ll quickly understand the attraction. But it’s also their low-maintenance reputation that has helped succulents emerge as best sellers in the natural world. There’s a good chance you’ll find them in a variety of neighborhood retail shops—from nurseries to large discount stores.
But don’t pick up a few succulents expecting them to flourish even if you neglect them for days on end. Succulents do require some level of care. Take a look at our quick care guide for growing succulents both indoors and outdoors before you take one of these beauties home.
Here are a few tips to consider:
If you truly want a low-maintenance plant, choose from among the succulents that require less care. Avoid the temptation to pick up the first cute succulent you see in the store aisle just before you check out. Some of the most easy-to-care-for varieties include crassula (aka jade plant), Haworthia fasciata (zebra cactus), aloe, echeveria, and sedum. For succulents that require more care, treat them as you would when selecting other plants. Review the instructions on how to care for them and, of course, treat them accordingly.
Repot Your Plants
Often, you’re attracted to a succulent because it’s paired with a fun, adorable pot showing off the natural curves of the plant. However, be sure to abandon that small plastic pot and the accompanying soil within a day or two of bringing your new plant home. Choose a more sizable plant container to create a better growing environment for your plant. Also, upgrade your soil to ensure you have proper nutrients and drainage. To create the best soil for planting, add pumice or perlite to your gardening soil. Also, many stores also carry a soil mixture that’s ideal for succulents. Look for soil that’s labeled as a cactus and succulent soil mix.
Location. Location. Location.
Many succulents require plenty of sunshine. Read up on how to best care for the species you selected. Also, make sure you avoid placing your plants near electronics or vents that emit an air-conditioned breeze that could weaken them. Expose your succulents to bright light as much as possible. If you can, take your plant outdoors where it can get an abundance of sunlight.
Don’t over-water your succulent. You could kill it or at least cause it to droop. Experts say that succulents don’t flourish when they’re sitting in wet soil. They prefer conditions in which the soil dries out more quickly. Only water your plant when the soil appears fairly dry.
Pay attention to planting conditions. As with indoor planting, when planting your succulents outdoors, select areas with plenty of light and ensure that you invest in fast-draining soil to prevent your plant from receiving too much moisture. Try using gravel over the soil to minimize the amount of water that gets to the bottom of the plant.
Like other plants, succulents can benefit from the occasional fertilization during the spring and summer seasons.
Since most succulents don’t survive freezing temperatures, bring them indoors during the winter. Follow the same care for these plants as you do for the ones that are kept indoors—provide them with plenty of light and avoid over-watering. A few specific species, including agaves and sedums, can be left outdoors during the winter in certain regions. Again, do your research to ensure you’re caring for specific varieties properly.
Succulents have earned their reputation for being fun, easy-to-maintain plants. Just show them a bit of love to help them flourish indoors and outdoors.